COVID forces NYCFC to make emergency loan move for CCL match vs. Tigres

ByJeff Carlisle ESPN logo
Tuesday, December 15, 2020

New York City FC has acquired goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar on loan from Orlando City after complications with COVID-19 left the team shorthanded ahead of Wednesday's CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg match against Tigres, the club announced.

The move was necessitated by the fact that three NYCFC players have tested positive for COVID-19, while a fourth, goalkeeper Sean Johnson, was deemed a close contact and didn't travel to Orlando for the match.

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"I'm sad to say I won't be joining the team in Orlando as I was declared a close contact to one of the players who recently tested positive for covid," Johnson said on Twitter. "I have tested negative to this point and hope I continue to do so."

The positive tests also altered NYCFC's travel plans, with the team leaving Tuesday morning. NYCFC trails Tigres 1-0 from the first leg that was held back in March, but the competition was then halted due to the pandemic. The remaining CCL games are being held at a neutral site in Orlando in a bid to finish the competition by the end of the year.

NYCFC manager Ronny Deila told reporters that backup keeper Luis Barraza will take Johnson's place in the starting lineup and that Stajduhar is available in case of an injury.

"Luis has been fighting for now two years to be close to the team and I'm very happy now that he gets a chance," Deila said. "He's talented, young, he's been working really hard and now the time has come and we're looking forward to the game to see how Luis is going to do. I'm very confident he will have a good game."